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Molly Goddard on Louise Wilson's Film Recommendations

Ahead of her S/S17 show, the British designer reflects on the cult movies that Louise Wilson advised she watch while studying at Central Saint Martins

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AnOther Magazine A/W16Photography by Sarah Piantadosi, Styling by Nell Kalonji

“When I started my MA in Fashion, this list of films was up on the wall. Louise Wilson, our course director, realised her students were pretty ignorant and needed guidance. She used to quiz us on, say, Albert and David Maysles’ Grey Gardens, and people would be completely clueless. If we were working too long in class, she’d tell us to get out and watch something. The first one I watched from the list was Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain, which was mind-blowing. Then The Passenger, by Antonioni, which is now one of my favourites. She kind of knew everything. I wish I were a bit more like that. That’s why I love this film list: It prompts me to see and do stuff. We now have it on the wall for interns in the studio. She was always right, which was so infuriating. Every reason she gave for how shit you were, was bang on. She could just see right through you.”

The week Goddard returned to Central Saint Martins, having deferred the second part of her MA for a year, she learnt that Louise Wilson had passed away. Goddard decided to quit the course and instead embarked on sewing yards of tulle into smocked dresses for an impromptu debut presentation, styled like a prom party. The collection was picked up by Dover Street Market, and Goddard has since been lighting up London Fashion Week with immersive presentations featuring her friends in voluminous frocks. The designer often thinks about what Wilson would have thought of her work. She thinks that Wilson “might” have liked it. Or at the very least, found it funny. 

On The Passenger (1975) by Michaelangelo Antonioni 
"I like the simplicity of it. I usually like films that are just full of stuff, but I do like films where not much happens, where it is just like a story. I think the filming is very beautiful. I don’t really remember what happens, but I remember it being a long film, but being able to totally forget about everything and watch it, even though not a lot goes on. There is an amazing shot at the end, which I think is my favourite shot of any film. You know when they film something and it goes through the different rooms, and it’s continuous shot of a car, and then into a building, and it carries on for about 15 minutes which is quite amazing."

On Romeo + Juliet (1996) by Baz Luhrmann
"This one isn’t on Louise’s list but it’s what I’d choose if I had to watch a film on repeat. I just love it, I always cry the whole way through but I’ll always love it. I always see different things in it, I don’t think it’s ever going to go out of date at any time. Obviously the story is a good story, and the music – I still listen to it in my mum’s car. I love Juliet’s house! I think that’s very nostalgic as I always wanted a bedroom like hers with loads of candles. I just think it’s very well done, in combining the old and new, the modern day and Shakespeare."

On Holy Mountain (1973) by Alejandro Jodorowsky
"I watched Holy Mountain for the first time when Louise gave me the list. I’d never heard of it. I thought it was so amazing, like a stream of consciousness almost. It’s totally crazy, I like the use of religious iconography and things like that, similar to Romeo + Juliet. I like the bit with the hundreds and hundreds of Jesus statues. I think my favourite part is the dressed up frogs that then explode. Then there’s another great section where poo turns into gold. It’s so surreal, these strange snapshots. I definitely didn’t understand it."

On Mean Streets (1973) by Martin Scorsese
"I think Mean Streets is one of my dad's favourite films, so I watched it with him. It’s just a kind of standard gangster film, but it’s amazingly shot. There’s this really good scene where he’s drunk in a club and the camera is on his face, as if he’s holding it, looking up to his nose a bit. It’s kind of another long shot of him. I quite like gangster films and action films rather than fashion films."

On Gummo (1997) by Harmony Korine
"I much prefer Gummo to Kids. I think they’re quite different, as well – in a way, there’s much less of a story in Gummo . It’s kind of just a weird series of events, which I think is what I like in a film. And then there is no ending. I like that in a film, too. I like the bit when he’s dancing on the bed, I think what they’re wearing is really good, and Gummo eating spaghetti in the bath. I think all of these films I watched quite a long time ago, and then again more recently. That’s why I like them, because they were quite influential when I was younger."

The first part of this article originally appeared in AnOther Magazine A/W16. 

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